Chalk the Walk, 2.0

O. S. Gray Natural Area is about to become even more beautiful • By Allison Beatty

The O. S. Gray Natural Area sits nestled in the suburbia of Central Arlington, bookended by Bowen Road and Fielder Road. The former pecan tree nursery now boasts a play area and 20 acres of concrete trails, surrounded by gorgeous native foliage.

This area means a lot to those who fought to turn it into a city park. The Friends of O. S. Gray Natural Area, spearheaded by chairman Kevin Donovan, are bursting with enthusiasm for this wonderful place and are always on the lookout for ways to foster the local community.

Enter the Chalk the Walk competition. Chalk the Walk is a fun way for locals of all ages to enjoy the park while showing off their artistic ability. Participants are allotted one square of the sidewalk and two hours to let out their inner Picasso. You may recall the inaugural event held in March of 2017, where the theme was “Springtime in Texas.” Many a bluebonnet made an appearance on the sidewalk that day.

This coming fall marks the second Chalk the Walk event, and the theme this year is “What I Love About Nature.” It will take place on Oct. 6 – though, if the Texas weather swings for the worse, the rainout date is Oct. 20. Participants can sign up either as an individual or as a team, and children age nine and over can register as an individual to let their true colors fly on the pavement.

No doubt there will be plenty for the eye to enjoy, but if chalk art just isn’t your cup of tea, there’s still plenty to do: read the display highlighting the rich history of O. S. Gray Natural Area, get some steps in on the trail loops, or let the kids run around on the playground while admiring the pollinator garden by the trailhead.

After all the chalk art has been properly admired and judged, winners will be chosen in each category, and all winners will receive a cash prize. Participants need not be present to win, but participants are urged to stick around; the Friends of O. S. Gray Natural Area need some help choosing the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

Chalk the Walk is just one way to celebrate this splash of green amidst the concrete North Texas jungle. The Friends of O. S. Gray Natural Area is now a full-fledged 501(c)(3) non-profit, and it’s run entirely by volunteers. They host community days at the park once a month in which locals can have a hand in the upkeep of the park.

They do such tasks as preparing and staining benches for use along the trails, removal of invasive plant species plus native species restoration, and weeding out the pollinator garden, among others.

The entry fee for Chalk the Walk includes one box of chalk, and participant spots must be reserved at least two days in advance of the event. For full details about entry fees and how to reserve a spot, check out the Friends of O. S. Gray Natural Area Facebook page or email friends@friendsofosgray.org.